If you enjoy supporting family-owned local businesses and the “farm to table” restaurant effort in Louisville, you could do much, much worse than to get yourself over to Dasha Barbour’s Southern Bistro in Buechel, ASAP. One more plus: Get away from the crowds and overly done restaurants and dishes in NULU. I’m just sayin’.
With many of the ingredients coming directly from the farm of the owners’ extended family, and a small menu of Southern comfort classics, my husband and I came close to trying just about everything on offer in one dinner. And I was torn when I had to bypass a couple of dishes. Everything sounded that good.
Since the restaurant opened in December, it has been building its reputation on its fried chicken. It’s been said that it’s the best in the city. You can choose chicken and waffles, or a chicken dinner with sides. I went for the dinner with sides, and I made an excellent choice. Then again, I haven’t tried the waffles yet, and I’m betting they’ll impress me. My husband went with the special of the day, meatloaf with sides, and a couple of pieces of fried chicken to round it out.
Everything is made to order, but our wait wasn’t long on a Sunday evening. I started with fried green tomatoes, thick cut with a thin breading. The accompanying house-made sauce is a bit of sour cream, jalapenos and some secret ingredients that the owner doesn’t share. It has a serious kick and made these fried tomatoes stand out from others I’ve had in Louisville that are usually served with sweeter remoulades or sauces.
The fried chicken came out hot and steaming, and it is indeed special. The crust is very thick and dark, not too spicy. The meat was moist and juicy. I prefer dark meat chicken, and those legs were just right.
We both agreed that the sides, though, were our favorites. The sweet potato casserole easily took first place in our ranking. It’s full of both fresh sweet potato flavor and a generous crusty layer of sweet, sticky goodness. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My husband loved it too, and he is not much of a sweet potato fan, in general. Rounding out our list of favorite sides were the cole slaw, which my husband named “best I’ve ever had,” yummy collard greens, rich mac and cheese and a sweet cornbread.
The restaurant was out of its cheesecake, which I will try on another visit, so we snagged the last two pieces of caramel cake. It’s what it should be: not fancy, but flavorful and moist, making a lovely end to a lovely dinner.
The owner never stopped moving, covering tables, carry-out orders and the phones, but provided very good service, clearing dishes quickly and stopping to talk with us about how he and his wife develop their recipes, as if he didn’t have a million other things to do. When I told him that I’d noticed his 100 percent “like” rating on Urbanspoon, he said he was grateful for the support of his customers and that he always asks that people let him make it right if something isn’t as they prefer. Clearly, he is doing an excellent job. The only thing I would suggest is that he might want to charge more: The prices are extremely reasonable for such high-quality ingredients and from-scratch menu items. But that’s Buechel for you. It’s no NULU, and for that, I am thankful.
Dasha Barbour’s Southern Bistro is located at 3825 Bardstown Road.
Photo: Dasha Barbour’s Southern Bistro